Director: Hemant Dhome
Writers: Irawati Karnik
Cast: Suhas Joshi, Nirrmite Saawaant, Suchitra Bandekar, Sayali Sanjeev, Kshitee Jog, Rinku Rajguru, Shivani Surve and Siddharth Chandekar
Duration: 137 mins
Available in: Theatres
At a press conference for Jhimma 2, director Hemant Dhome said he hasn’t made a sequel to Jhimma (2021), but an entirely new film. Starring Suhas Joshi, Nirrmite Saawaant, Suchitra Bandekar, Sayali Sanjeev, Kshitee Jog, Rinku Rajguru, Shivani Surve and Siddharth Chandekar, the sequel to the first film (also directed by Dhome) is one of those rare follow-ups that stands on its own and also builds on the prequel.
The group of seven women we met in Jhimma are once again off to visit the United Kingdom. This time, they’re going to the Lake District to celebrate Indu darling’s (Suhas Joshi) 75th birthday. Nirmala (Nirrmitte Saawaant) is accompanied by daughter-in-law Taniya (Rinku Rajguru). Vaishali (Suchitra Bandekar) joins the trip with her niece Manali (Shivani Surve), a bridal makeup artist. Also in the gang is Meeta (Kshitee Jog), a widow who is looking to marry again and Krutika (Sayali Sanjeev), an entrepreneur. During the trip, relationships suffer, deepest secrets are voiced, and the bonds between the women ultimately get stronger. As Manali puts it, “"Life badlat astanach baghaichi aste navin jaga, navin rang dakhavte (When life changes, you must explore new places and see the many colours around you).”
Jhimma 2 stands out among most female-centric movies because its powerful storytelling doesn’t come across as a lecture on feminism and neither does it fall back on lazy devices like ridiculing men or patronising those in the audience. When Nirmala says, “A real woman is she who breaks the definition of womanhood,” it highlights the nuanced understanding of one’s emotional wants and the importance of not needing to pretend to be progressive. The desire for a life partner in Jhimma 2 is one that speaks of wanting to belong in a team and embracing womanhood in all its glory.
The trip begins when Kabir (Siddharth Chandekar), owner of the travel agency, plans his company’s next trip in association with Krutika (now married to Steve) in the United Kingdom. What follows is a laugh riot, like when Nirmala plans to join others for a drink but in front of her daughter-in-law Taniya, tries to put up a different image for herself. Petty disagreements erupt between Vaishali and Krutika and Meeta’s journey of self discovery, as she goes from self-deprecating to self-assured, is fascinating to watch.
Along with humour, the film serves a veritable buffet of feelings. Taniya’s relationship with Nirmala is an excellent example of how difference of opinion can be embraced without it weighing a relationship down. The younger woman delivers a fantastic monologue in her confrontation scene with her mother-in-law, making the scene one of the highlights of this film, which is packed with great performances and moving moments. Shivani Surve plays a strong headed, independent young woman who lives life on her own terms, with zero interest in love or romance. Her character is likely to resonate with many for the way she burdens herself by putting unnecessary pressure on herself. Nirrmitee Saawaant, last seen in Satyaprem Ki Katha (2023), is the standout performer of Jhimma 2 as an outgoing mother-in-law who feels slightly possessive of her gang when her daughter-in-law joins as its newest member.
The music composed by Amitraj is soothing and ‘Punha Jhimma’ and ‘Marathi Pori’ are the two songs that stay with you. The only black mark against the film is in its decision to fall back on a few cliches, which could have been avoided. For example, when Nirmala gets up, scared and nervous in the middle of the night, we get the tired trope of how Maharashtrians speak broken English or Hindi in high-pressure moments.
Dhome, his crew and the cast of Jhimma 2 deserves a round of applause for telling a story that is compelling without being preachy, which delivers joy and laughter while emphasising the need for us to introspect as a society.